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900th anniversary of Bologna’s foundation. 859, is considered by some to be the oldest degree-granting university. European university has no parallel in the medieval Islamic world. Several other scholars consider the university as uniquely European in origin and characteristics. Darleen Pryds questions this view, pointing out that madaris and European universities in the Mediterranean region shared similar foundations by princely patrons and were intended to provide loyal administrators to further the rulers’ agenda. Norman Daniel, however, views this argument as overstated.
Roy Lowe and Yoshihito Yasuhara have recently drawn on the well-documented influences of scholarship from the Islamic world on the universities of Western Europe to call for a reconsideration of the development of higher education, turning away from a concern with local institutional structures to a broader consideration within a global context. It is possible, however, that the development of cathedral schools into universities was quite rare, with the University of Paris being an exception. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries. 1079 Papal Decree ordered the regulated establishment of cathedral schools that transformed themselves into the first European universities. Europe for those defending the right of incipient nations against empire and church.
Lay students arrived in the city from many lands entering into a contract to gain this knowledge, organising themselves into ‘Nationes’, divided between that of the Cismontanes and that of the Ultramontanes. All over Europe rulers and city governments began to create universities to satisfy a European thirst for knowledge, and the belief that society would benefit from the scholarly expertise generated from these institutions. Princes and leaders of city governments perceived the potential benefits of having a scholarly expertise develop with the ability to address difficult problems and achieve desired ends. The emergence of humanism was essential to this understanding of the possible utility of universities as well as the revival of interest in knowledge gained from ancient Greek texts.
Some scholars believe that these works represented one of the most important document discoveries in Western intellectual history. Richard Dales, for instance, calls the discovery of Aristotle’s works “a turning point in the history of Western thought. After Aristotle re-emerged, a community of scholars, primarily communicating in Latin, accelerated the process and practice of attempting to reconcile the thoughts of Greek antiquity, and especially ideas related to understanding the natural world, with those of the church. Aristotelian logic and thoughts about natural processes to biblical passages and attempting to prove the viability of those passages through reason. This became the primary mission of lecturers, and the expectation of students.
It was established in 1386. Outside of these commonalities, great differences separated north and south, primarily in subject matter. Italian universities focused on law and medicine, while the northern universities focused on the arts and theology. There were distinct differences in the quality of instruction in these areas which were congruent with their focus, so scholars would travel north or south based on their interests and means. There was also a difference in the types of degrees awarded at these universities. English, French and German universities usually awarded bachelor’s degrees, with the exception of degrees in theology, for which the doctorate was more common.
Italian universities awarded primarily doctorates. The structure of northern universities tended to be modeled after the system of faculty governance developed at the University of Paris. Southern universities tended to be patterned after the student-controlled model begun at the University of Bologna. Among the southern universities, a further distinction has been noted between those of northern Italy, which followed the pattern of Bologna as a “self-regulating, independent corporation of scholars” and those of southern Italy and Iberia, which were “founded by royal and imperial charter to serve the needs of government. Europe would see a tremendous amount of growth, productivity and innovative research. At the end of the Middle Ages, about 400 years after the first European university was founded, there were twenty-nine universities spread throughout Europe. In the 15th century, twenty-eight new ones were created, with another eighteen added between 1500 and 1625.